Complete Alchemy Series (4 Individual Prints)
Complete Alchemy Series (4 Individual Prints)
Save $20 when you buy all four of the alchemical prints together! These will be individually wrapped in plastic sleeves, protected until you can find the perfect frames to suit your taste.
4 giclée prints on archival white paper
Signed and numbered
Print size: 7 x 7 in. / Paper size: 8 x 8 in.
Also available as individual prints or a descriptive poster:
The Alchemical Seasons of Hawthorn
The first step on the path to self-mastery, and creative mastery, is to become self-aware. As long as we have not confronted our own shadow, we will be obscured by its unconscious manifestation in our lives. In Creative Alchemy, the nigredo represents the darkness of the initial confrontation with the ego. Alchemical imagery depicts this phase by scenes of death, skeletons, ravens, coffins, or the black sun. It is most closely related to the earth element, the planet Saturn, and the metal lead. The nigredo can manifest as depression, sadness, and general suffering in the face of life’s difficulties. It is the “dark night of the soul” where we come face to face with our personal role in the circumstances of our life.
In winter, the bare and thorny branches of the Hawthorn guard the secrets of the nigredo and the entrance to the underworld. As last year’s remaining haws shrivel upon their stems, we descend into the quickthorn thickets to confront our shadow aspects. We experience the depressive, anxious, and negative thought patterns that are choking out the other potential seeds waiting to grow. Through this fearless confrontation with these parts of ourselves, we allow the thorns to pierce us through the heart so we are ready to let go of the illusions that limit our expression in the world. The serpent, who sheds its skin in the process of letting go and renewal, embraces us tenderly to guide us through the process.
Spring light returns to illuminate our Hawthorn tree, as the proud and deeply cut leaves emerge from long graceful shoots, and soon the branches are draped in the delicate lace of the Mayblossoms, the veil of Flor-Aphrodite. This is the albedo, holy flowers blushing with whispers of the fruit to come, inviting us to purify our minds of conditioning by opening our hearts. These rose-like flowers are hermaphroditic, containing both the male and female parts brought together in the coniunctio. As they mature, they begin emitting a signature deathly odor reminiscent of decaying flesh, which attracts certain insects that inadvertently pollinate the flowers while looking for the decaying matter to lay their eggs in. Through this pungent trait the Hawthorn tree has earned an association with death, and serves to remind us that the union of opposites in alchemy (the hermaphroditic flowers) also corresponds to a death or sacrifice that is necessary before we can find our way out of suffering and into the Permanent Rose Garden. To bring these beautiful white flowers into the home is an invitation for death, but it is the death of the “lesser self” and not the physical self that we are concerned with. From this act of letting go, the soul, or the “higher self,” is born within the body. In this way we become sanctified, protected by divine right to remain in truth as a tree with its roots in heaven.
There’s an old Scottish saying: “Ne’er cast a cloot til Mey’s oot,” which means to wait until the “Meys,” or hawthorns, are “oot”—in full bloom—before casting away any clothes (cloot). This corresponds to the month of May when the hawthorns bloom. On another level, this alludes to the albedo as the “superficial awakening” that occurs in the process of remembering the true, original nature, but there is more work to be done for this realization to be fully integrated, for there are still many obstructions and layers of conditioning to be removed.
Romancing us in May light, hawthorn drops her white veil as the fire of summer intensifies, the mayflowers fading and falling away as the nascent yellow-green bodies of the haws (hawthorn berries) form. This in-between stage of the immature green berries relates to the citrinitas, the yellowing or xanthosis which is equated with a process of ripening, waiting, and receiving the inspiration from the gold of the sun, the pure awareness that is free from impurities and mental conditions.
The completion of the alchemical opus is known as the rubedo, or reddening. It is the red of the setting sun and the Autumn harvest, when the hawthorn berries (“haws”) are fully ripe. These red pome-fruits are the medicine of liberation through knowledge of the self, discovered through direct and objective observation of the body and mind. To eat her fruit is to remember her rhythm in our heart, serpentine and sattvic, and with it we wind back to source, through vessels and capillaries opened and flowing with prana, as our consciousness is ripened to completion by the gold of the sun.
As our stone we experience the final reconciliation of opposites that frees us from the endless pendulum swing. All of the traumas and conditioned responses we were carrying have been completely dissolved and are now reintegrated on a higher level, ready to be transformed into something new on a physical level. The stone is reddened by the process of fixation, having cooked out the last of its lunar moistnesss. Drying out through the use of intense heat—with attention and intention—we have finally attained the perfection and permanence of the philosopher’s stone. Inseparable from the cosmos, we become the hub of the wheel, the immovable center, forever fixed in the heart of the sun. This is the royal marriage, the Hierosgamos of the Red King and the White Queen merging into completion, beyond inner opposition.